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Friday, 16 July 2010

Fings wot I have been doing

Well I am very peased for I decided to do something I never thought I would have the courage/nerve/possibility of achieving. For all you confident folk out there it would have been nothing but for  me to speak in public has been a challenge.  I started at church by agreeing to read the lesson, now have progressed to writing and reading Intercessions. The latest achievement was to speak at a planning meeting.

I knew it was a no hope case so if I was a disaster it would have made no difference. Briefly, a house two doors down from us has been empty eight years since it was bought from the original owner. The people who purchased the 1930s property, usual 3 bedrooms with room over garage,  have extended it on both sides, at the back and up into the roof. Each time planning permission has been given retrospectively, the roof extensions were taken and down and redone to a different configuration. From the plans it appears each room has its own ensuite so one could hardly claim the house will be a family dwelling. Work still not complete, scaffolding has been up a year. Recently we were informed that retrospective permission had been sought to demolish original garage in 30' back garden and replace with a detached house. Later this was changed to a garage and then again to a storage facility. The building that had been started was constructed to a very high standard, cavity walls, lovely bricks etc. and would be over 3.5 metres high. For a storage facility!

Although many neighbours, including those who the council hadn't informed, wrote letters no one was willing to speak at the planning meeting. I suspect it was through fear of the developers so in my address I assumed it was to be a family home and that instead of spending time and money constructing such a large and high building why did they not just buy a traditional English shed for storage! After all, 8 years is a long time to wait to move into a family home! Husband spoke too, he wanted assurances that the proposed storage facility would not be used for residential purposes, assurances that the council cannot give but the neighbours would have to monitor the situation.

We sat through another planning application, I had looked through previous minutes and it seems to me that it is pointless to challenge planning decisions made by council officials. Even retrospective ones seem to slide through, neighbours' opinions are dismissed and only 3 of the councillors said anything and they all voted with the officers recommendations. Each decision is made without any reference to precedence, different from English law so one householder could have his plans accepted and identical plans could be refused in the same borough. Having said this, the two councillors who questioned me were very pleasant to me, they seemed to recognise I'd never done anything like this before. I was thrown when the chairman told me to speak up as his hearing was not good, so I switched the timer off, started again in a very loud and croaky voice. Why are there not microphones?

What else has happened? Last week we went to Hampton Court Flower show, from the newspaper the next day discovered the Duchess of Cornwall had been there the same afternoon but didn't see her. Enjoyed the show, especially all the displays to mark 100 years of Girl Guides. Guiding seems more fun then when I was a guide, I was mortified when I tried to renew my promise last February to discover the promise had changed and I didn't know the new one. Ooops.

 Last Monday had lunch in local hostelry with reading group, enjoyed the chat, discussions and girl talk but found later the cheap food didn't agree with me. Chose pasta rather than the breaded fish but something in the ingredients, or the icecream sundae thing, caused mild allergy/reaction.  I would rather go to a better quality venue, but this is convenient and at £5 per head is possible for those on budgets.

Not sure of future plans, but hope for some rain, we had our first rain for about 6 weeks last Wednesday but ground is still dry so we take out bowls of washing up water to throw on the garden as our 5 water butts are more or less empty.

Sorry if I've gone on a bit, this is therapeutic. Must get on with domestic stuff, need afternoon tea and to hear yesterday's edition of The Archers. Missed 2pm repeat too.

Greetings to all who come here, especially those I meet in ML as well.



  1. Planners sometimes make me despair - they turn down something minor for no apparent reason and let something inappropriate go through on the nod.

    I couldn't possibly do the intercessions, but I did once write and deliver a talk for Harvest Festival during an interregnum. I wrote it all out, got it in my head and made bullet points, but I didn't use them. Nowadays, I'll talk without notes at the drop of a hat - be warned, it's a deceptively slippery road! Still, good for you for standing up to be counted.

  2. Congratulations for having the courage to speak out !
    Hope you've had the rain by now ! Pity we can't send you some. Summer seems to be over unless it's having a little rest !